Following their Sept. 2023 PSA campaign featuring Fat Joe, Busta Rhymes, Rick Ross, and other hip-hop heavyweights, the national nonprofit Power to the Patients, dedicated to pricing transparency in the American healthcare system, is taking things up a notch.
Complex reported that the organization has tapped Fat Joe, Wyclef Jean, and breakout country star Jelly Roll to appear at an event on Jan. 10 to raise awareness of its mission.
Ahead of the event, Fat Joe, who is all over their website serving the group as a spokesperson, released a statement.
“The U.S. healthcare system is America’s sickness,” Fat Joe said. “Healthcare price transparency isn’t a partisan or complicated issue. It’s common sense. The only people opposed to it are healthcare industry interests profiting by keeping patients in the dark. Price transparency can protect patients, families, employers, workers, even our own government from healthcare overcharging and pricing fraud as it does everywhere else in the economy.”
Fat Joe continued, “Clear prices allow consumers to choose affordable treatments without worrying that routine care will result in overcharges and even bankruptcy. Price transparency holds hospitals and insurance companies accountable, forcing them to compete and lowering costs, improving healthcare access, quality, and outcomes.”
Power to the Patients has been active, working over the last three years to get legislation passed around healthcare pricing transparency, spearheading a pair of bi-partisan bills in the House and Senate aimed at that purpose. According to the organization’s website, they believe that “Patients, families, workers, unions, and employers need systemwide healthcare price transparency to make fully informed decisions about the cost and quality of their care. All healthcare consumers have the right to upfront prices, and it’s time for our elected officials to stand up to industry profiteers by passing legislation to enforce price transparency for hospitals and insurers.”
To that end, they have championed H.R. 5378, which was passed by the House without objections on Dec. 11. According to Congress’s website, the bill is primarily concerned with making providers and insurers be more up front with policyholders about the costs of healthcare, as well as giving the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of the Treasury, and the Department of Labor the ability to implement and enforce the requirements of the bill.
On Dec. 14, a bill sponsored by Republican Senator Mike Braun was introduced to the Senate. The bill is SB 3548, or the Health Care Prices Revealed and Information to Consumers Explained Act. According to Congress’s website, this act is an amendment to the Public Health Service Act designed to provide price transparency for hospitals and insurers. It has been referred to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.
A December 2023 report from Patient Rights Advocate established a need for legislation around hospital price transparency, stating that prices for common medical procedures are not uniform in either hospitals in the same network or state, with those prices fluctuating by an average of 10 and 31 times, respectively. According to the report, “Real prices are needed by employers and unions to make rational health plan decisions that make the best use of workers’ wage contributions and business earnings. Full price transparency will lead to a functional, competitive, and accountable healthcare marketplace that puts downward and convergent pressure on prices just as in every other economic sector. Price transparency is necessary to restore trust in the U.S. healthcare system.”
According to Power to the Patients, the Jan. 10 event is part of a larger public advocacy campaign that will include a run of PSAs on digital media and billboards at Union Square and throughout the D.C. area. In conjunction with these efforts, Fat Joe will be in meetings with Congressional leaders, representatives from Power to the Patients, Patients’ Rights Advocates, and employers from across the country to spur action on healthcare pricing transparency legislation.